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Week of November 14, 2011

Letter to the Editor

To the Editors:

On Nov. 1, on the heels of Eric Cantor’s talk on campus, the Record Update published a piece titled, “(house) majority leader says government should support innovators.” The news item contained this sentence:

“Cantor said this week he would be moving a bill in Congress to ease access to capital, to ‘help these risk takers in achieving their dream.’”

The “ease access to capital” bill mentioned in this sentence references a package of legislation that received thorough coverage in Bloomberg’s Businessweek. Mr. Cantor can only be referring, in a press release I presume, to legislation that would loosen SEC restrictions on the major banks’ ability to lend cash to “closely held corporations.”

Could this deregulation package be seen as a component of the vaguely articulated “Steve Jobs Plan” that Mr. Cantor touted in his talk on campus? If so, it should be understood that the legislation –– passed in the House last week (with almost unanimous support) and now headed to the Senate –– does not involve public spending. So to characterize these bills as “government support” seems somewhat disingenuous. And, while increased lending might lead to some private sector hiring, the deregulation called for in the bills is not conditioned on job creation. Perhaps this legislation might be cited as tangible evidence of Cantor’s supposed support for “small business,” though the term “closely held corporations” is hardly synonymous with “small businesses.”

The main reason I’m writing, though, is this: the “easing access to capital” legislation is bi-partisan. One bill was introduced by a Democrat and one by a Republican. They were sponsored by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle and they had the full support of President Obama. In fact, this legislation package comes directly from a portion of the president’s jobs bill. The package represents the sole component of President Obama’s plan that has gained any kind of Republican support. Eric Cantor did not write the legislation, he did not introduce it and he did not sponsor it. Yes, as House majority leader, he certainly did have a hand in “moving” the legislation. In that sense, the (Record Update) story was not inaccurate.

I can only assume that the touting of the legislation –– including the “helping risk takers achieve their dream” language quoted in Record Update –– came from a press release issued by Mr. Cantor’s office. If that is indeed the case, I find it quite remarkable that a politician who has staked his career on entrenched partisan divisiveness would summon the nerve point to an uncontroversial bi-partisan accomplishment in an effort to shore up the credibility of the abstract remarks he makes on the Republican stump. (As an aside, I am also disturbed by the fact that further SEC deregulation would be so uncontroversial within Congress; one might hope that references to assisting Wall Street’s “risk takers,” at this point, would raise a few eyebrows.)

I am writing to respectfully suggest that, in the future, the Record Update not be so quick to take a political press release at face value.

Sincerely,

Kristy Rawson
6th year student, Rackham Graduate School
Doctoral candidate, Department of Screen Arts and Cultures
Doctoral certificate candidate, Latina/o Studies, Department of American Cultures


The University Record welcomes letters from members of the university community. Those on topics of broad university interest will be given preference for publication. Letters should be no more than 500 words and must be signed. The editorial staff reserves the right to reject any letter and to edit and/or condense letters for publication. The staff also reserves the right to limit the number of letters submitted by the same individual. Letters may appear in small type. Organizations submitting material must include the name and address of an appropriate officer. Letters must be received by noon Wednesday to receive consideration for publication in the next issue.

 

SPOTLIGHT

The Rev. Dr. Debby Mitchell, student affairs program manager, Rackham Graduate School, on her work with Rackham: “My great joy is interacting with the many students we help achieve their academic and professional goals."

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